Addendum Help?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
cestmoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:14 am

Addendum Help?

Postby cestmoi » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:16 pm

Hi all,

I've been a long-time lurker on these boards, and recently (ie: yesterday) decided to finally register. I was hoping for some help on my addendum. I know it's only supposed to be a paragraph at most, and I'm having some trouble whittling it down. It's basically meant to address my (eek!) suspension, as well as my poor grades during my first year. Since that time, I've improved my GPA significantly, as well as taken on several leadership roles in various extracurriculars/internships. Any and all edits would be greatly appreciated! Seriously, have at it:

"I would like to take this opportunity to briefly address the weaknesses in my application to X Law School. I admittedly struggled a great deal during my first year as an undergraduate. During my first fall term, I learned of the extent of my father’s drug and alcohol addiction. As the oldest of three children, I found being away from my mother and siblings during this time to be extremely difficult. I sought relief from this anxiety by engaging in behaviors that were detrimental to my personal well-being and academic success. In the late fall of 2007, I was suspended from (Name) University for using marijuana on campus. I returned home during this two-term suspension, where I sought counseling and maintained a part-time job.

I am deeply regretful and ashamed of my actions; I now realize how greatly they may have jeopardized my education and future success. It may sound strange, but I am quite grateful for the time I spent away from school, as it was then that I realized how much I truly value my education and the opportunities it could afford me. After returning to school in the summer of 2008, I sought out various activities and mentors who could further help foster my strengths, especially when times were difficult at home. For example, I am the first (Name) University student with a disciplinary sanction to have applied for (and received) a position as a Conduct Board member with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and have even been invited to speak to the incoming freshmen classes on the student conduct process.

Though I understand you must consider the weaknesses in my first-year academic and disciplinary record, it is my hope that they will not be viewed as indicative of my true character and capabilities. I hope you will also consider the academic improvements I have worked hard to achieve and the positive contributions I have made for myself, my peers and the University community. It is my sincere aspiration to continue to make such positive contributions at X Law School."


Much thanks, everyone!

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joebloe
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:02 am

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby joebloe » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:47 pm

Just from a glance, it's too long. Addenda for most problems are one paragraph. Ones for serious problems can be two.

Looking more in-depth... you're going about this all wrong. Your grades sucked first semester/year. You got busted for pot. You got suspended for a year. Discuss the situation factually, discuss the punishment factually, and discuss how you've changed factually. Two paragraphs tops. This isn't a chance to submit another personal statement.

mimi82
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby mimi82 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:11 pm

cestmoi wrote:"I would like to take this opportunity to briefly address the weaknesses in my application to X Law School. I admittedly struggled a great deal during my first year as an undergraduate. During my first fall term, I learned of the extent of my father’s drug and alcohol addiction. As the oldest of three children, I found being away from my mother and siblings during this time to be extremely difficult. I sought relief from this anxiety by engaging in behaviors that were detrimental to my personal well-being and academic success. In the late fall of 2007, I was suspended from (Name) University for using marijuana on campus. I returned home during this two-term suspension, where I sought counseling and maintained a part-time job.



Okay I'm not trying to be a jerk but I'm going to give you my honest opinion. When I read the bolded section all I could do was think about how someone is trying to blame their family problems on getting high. I had problems...I mean lots of problems. I got high, got arrested, and did some other very dumb things during my early years. My mother was verbally abusive to me and my sisters, my father wasn't really around, and my mother almost died of a brain injury. But the thing is I don't blame any of my dumb childhood behavior on any of that. I was just having fun. And the only reason I'm writing something on my low LSAT score is because my best friend is lying in a vegetative state after having her baby which happened in October, and I'm an emotional mess because of it.

Not saying you didn't have problems but the way this first part came off to me is some privileged kid getting high and then going to counseling so he can get back in school.

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kitmitzi
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:22 pm

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby kitmitzi » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:00 am

My prelaw adviser said that applicants should be as vague as possible with a substance use addendum and show that they've learned, grown up, etc.

If I were you I would write,

"I was suspended from XXX for two terms in the Fall of 2007 for using marijuana. During my suspension, I sought counseling and maintained a part-time job. I have since been substance-free and am confident that I will remain so for the rest of my life."

Or something like that. I'd say 3-5 sentences at most. Don't tell them at all about your personal life. Adcomm will understand if you just accept responsibility, say what you did about it, and moved on.

(but on a different note, you got a 2 term suspension for marijuana? that's absurd. your college must be really strict. people at my school only get in trouble if dealing is involved)

mimi82
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby mimi82 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:19 am

kitmitzi wrote:My prelaw adviser said that applicants should be as vague as possible with a substance use addendum and show that they've learned, grown up, etc.

If I were you I would write,

"I was suspended from XXX for two terms in the Fall of 2007 for using marijuana. During my suspension, I sought counseling and maintained a part-time job. I have since been substance-free and am confident that I will remain so for the rest of my life."

Or something like that. I'd say 3-5 sentences at most. Don't tell them at all about your personal life. Adcomm will understand if you just accept responsibility, say what you did about it, and moved on.

(but on a different note, you got a 2 term suspension for marijuana? that's absurd. your college must be really strict. people at my school only get in trouble if dealing is involved)


I agree. You apparently learned from the situation so I would focus on that.

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TLSanders
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:24 am

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby TLSanders » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:08 pm

You've included far too much introduction and conclusion, and the formalities of your language are eating up a lot of unnecessary space.

Presumably, the overall environment of the problems you were experiencing at the time influenced both the incident underlying the suspension and your grades. Roll it all together and get to the point. They don't need to know the details of your family situation or need you to tell them that you recognize that they're going to have to consider these things.

cestmoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:14 am

Re: Addendum Help?

Postby cestmoi » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:10 pm

Thanks for the help, everyone! Here's take two:

"I would like to take this opportunity to briefly address the weaknesses in my application to X Law School. After a difficult first term, I was suspended from (Name) University in the late fall of 2007 for smoking marijuana on campus. I returned home during this two-term suspension, where I sought counseling and maintained a part-time job. I am deeply regretful of my actions and have remained drug-free since my return to (Name) in the summer of 2008. Since my return, I have greatly increased my academic performance, taken on various leadership roles in my extracurricular activities and work assignments, and am the first (Name) student with a disciplinary sanction to have applied for (and received) a position as a Conduct Board member with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. Please see the attached letter from Assistant Dean Mr. (Name Name), which details my involvement with the Office."

I have a brief statement from the Assistant Dean, which my pre-law adviser recommended I attach as a locked PDF, as I already have three strong LORs. I'm not sure if this is the best way to go about submitting that letter, but I'm not really sure how else to do it... Any additional advice/edits would be appreciated!

And just to clear up a few items that were mentioned:
Not saying you didn't have problems but the way this first part came off to me is some privileged kid getting high and then going to counseling so he can get back in school.

I'm sorry to hear about your problems. I, too, had a LOT going on, none of which was described in the original post. I'm glad you mentioned that it sounded like a privileged kid blaming her family, because that wasn't the case at all. I went through a LOT of extremely serious stuff that year, so I guess I'm better off not mentioning any of it than trying to sort of gloss over it and have it taken as an attempt at blame.

(but on a different note, you got a 2 term suspension for marijuana? that's absurd. your college must be really strict. people at my school only get in trouble if dealing is involved)

And yep, two full terms. My school's "Zero Tolerance Policy" dictates that ANY drug policy violations receive a mandatory one year suspension. We also have a student-based appeals process, so I did have it reduced after appealing, but it's pretty strict.




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